If you have been following this series of posts then you have noticed that the main focus has been on designing your website. Even though the topic is not nearly close to being thoroughly discussed, I would like to leave it and move forward to social marketing. In this post I will be focusing namely on Twitter because it has proven to be the most valuable to my marketing efforts. Now, a word of caution, I am by far no expert in this field and like you, I am struggling to make my name known in the slush pile known as the ebook world. But there are few things I have picked up on that I have not read elsewhere that I believe are extremely beneficial to getting your name noticed.
I joined twitter, over three years ago, then left it with nothing more than a crappy image with no followers and not a single clue as to why I joined in the first place. I had nothing to say to anyone. I didn’t have anyone to say anything to. Then that all changed when I wrote my book and found a desperate need to find out what in the world I should do with it now. When I made the decision to self publish my book I knew I was facing an uphill battle, but pushed my shoulders back and trudged forward. I now had something to share and even more to learn. I started off by looking and following all the big names only to realize that I wasn’t learning anything that way. They weren’t following me back so it wasn’t as if we were communicating in any way. So I started clicking on recommendations that popped up on my twitter home page. Soon I began connecting with other indie authors and it was great because now I at least had people following me back, but they were doing the same thing I was. They were trying to sell their books, it wasn’t necessarily the fan base I desperately needed.
Instead, as I soon learned, it offered something just as valuable. It is a constant outpouring of experience, encouragement, and once again, a learning process of what not to do and what you must do in order to have a presence that people take notice of.
There isn’t a day that goes by that I do not open my email account and find it filled with notices of new followers and mentions of me from Twitter. To hear myself say that now seems ridiculous. Only a few months ago I was a nobody barely treading water but now people are actually mentioning me without my begging and pleading. Not that I have done that, frankly my pride is too thick to begin begging to be noticed. The last thing I want to do is become the annoying follower that people would rather unfollow then listen to my incessant begging.
Within just a very short time period I have gained an impressive following, which I now consider more of an impressive backing of support, from well over a thousand followers. It all began with my taking the reins and showing interest in others by following them first. But first you must find the people to follow and there are a few very easy ways I have discovered to do just this.
- Profile Details – Before you even begin following people you must take the steps of offering them a reason to follow you back. You are given very little room to sell yourself so you must take advantage of every resource Twitter gives you. Whatever you do, do not leave the description of yourself empty. Tell people who you are. If you are an author tell them that in the very first sentence. Without this very important detail you are not giving anyone a reason to follow you. Then follow with the details of your genre and the extremely important link to your website. You would be amazed how many people will click on that link just to learn more about you before they click that follow button. Then add another important link that gives them an alternative way of learning more about you. It can be your blog or Facebook page. Both of which you want to have more followers of as well. Use the resources to work for you. Then make sure you add an image of yourself. Now you will not meet another person that hates having their picture taken more than me. But suck it up. People want to know the real you and know that you are not just another spammer. But remember, your picture can work for you or against you. Don’t post a low quality picture that sheds a horrible light on you. It isn’t about your looks so much as it is about showing others that you care enough to put quality into what you do. Do not use a picture you take of yourself from your webcam. I don’t care if you are the most beautiful person in the world, you will look horrible because the quality is horrible. Whatever picture you use, make sure it represents you now, not twenty years ago when you think you looked better. People will catch on and it will make you appear deceiving. Take care of what picture you choose and make sure it represents you for what you want to relay to others.
- Take advantage of the recommended people to follow – there are several ways to do this and I will leave it up to you to discover so as not to bore you with all the details. If you do not know where to find these, then you need to spend a little more time familiarizing yourself with twitter. I will point out one way that I have found to be the most useful for me. Anytime I receive an email stating that someone new is following me that I am not yet following and it is someone that I want to follow, I click on the link from the email and it sends me directly to their page. When I click follow, it then offers up two other recommendations of people to follow from their list of followers. This gives you an open door into their network. After all, that is what Twitter is all about – connecting and forming networks of people you share a common interest with.
- Lists – For the longest time I ignored the “List” feature on twitter. Once I began to venture into learning just what they were, I realized that most people don’t use the feature either. But the ones that do, give you a resource that opens you up to a wealth of people that would take you months to connect with if you even manage to reach them. A list on twitter is a group of followers that a person categorizes to make their communicating with specific people easier. It’s something that seems simple but to those that are looking for specific types of people to connect with it is an exclusive directory into your network. Now there are two types of lists, the ones that are public and ones that are private. When you create a list that is public, you are telling your other followers that these people are the ones they should follow. Therefore you are not only organizing, you are doing a service by making your followers important to you and allowing them the valuable opportunity to join other networks. When you click on the List feature you can view the lists others have included you in. You can view them and connect to others that are in that list with you. But it doesn’t stop there. You can gain access to other public lists a person has that you are not a part of by subscribing to the list giving you access to view it. Take some time to take advantage of this valuable resource. Give your followers a place of honor on your profile and network yourself from other lists. Before you know it, you will find your network growing tremendously. Now every time I receive a new follower of importance that I feel would benefit from my list inclusion, I add them. It takes very little time and before you know it you have a well organized profile that gives you a wealth of resources to work with.
- Selling your product – We have all heard and have been discouraged by the constant influx of people tweeting only advertisements for their products. First you must remember that this was the purpose of joining all the networks in the first place. So suck it up and take it with a grain of salt. These people are only trying to make a living. But there are ways of advertising and there are ways that will make you nothing more than an irritating spammer. You may have first joined twitter to get the word out about your product but now that you have a network filled with real people, it’s time to establish relationships with them. If you treat people with respect then you will be respected and not just another member of a list. When you see someone advertise their product, help them out by retweeting it so people in your network can see it. People will in turn retweet your adverts. When people send you a message, regardless if it is an automatic responder message or not, reply to it and make them aware that you are glad to meet them. Take it even further and mention something about their current project to show that you have taken a genuine interest in knowing them. You would be amazed how something so simple can be so encouraging to those of us fighting to make ourselves known in this world. It’s not about pride its about making others aware that their hard word is being noticed. Post links to advertise your product daily but space it out to where you are showing there is more about you that makes others want to know more about you. Every time you respond to someone that mentions you, it shows and people take notice that you are a real person and not some robot tweeting scheduled tweets. Take advantage of hashtags so that your advertisement can be viewed by people outside your network but don’t make every word a hashtag because it looks horrible and gives a sense of desperation and once again, carelessness.
This is only the beginning of all the resources available through Twitter alone. But if you follow these few simple steps you will create a great foundation that will get you noticed by more networks than you every dreamed of before. Always remember the golden rule “Treat others as you want to be treated”. Remain positive and cheerful in everything that you tweet. As stupid as it sounds, use the old trick that has been used by phone operators for years; answer the phone with a smile and your voice will relay your attitude. Smile when you post and your words will relay your attitude. Believe it or not, a smile is contagious even when you cannot see the person on the receiving end. Words are powerful, use them wisely.